Arizona Snowbowl has received more than 7 feet of snow since Friday, and the ski conditions are phenomenal! More than 90% of our terrain is currently open for plenty of powder turns and face shots with more terrain re-opening soon!
While all this fresh powder is fantastic, at Arizona Snowbowl, the safety of our skiers is our number one priority. With this vast amount of fresh snow over just a few days, Arizona Snowbowl has had to close the Upper Bowl while Ski Patrol adequately mitigates and assesses the snow pack.
Over the weekend, avalanche mitigation efforts by patrol were slowed because of the storm and poor visibility. Due to the potential for avalanche, the upper terrain of the ski area, about 10% of the entire resort, was closed starting on Saturday and will likely remain closed through Wed. or Thurs. Now that the storm cycle has ended and visibility has improved, Ski Patrol can now properly mitigate and assess the stability of the snowpack. Check the Snowbowl Snow Report for the latest updates and details.
Ski Patrol discovered one avalanche within the ski area boundary Saturday afternoon in an area that was already closed to skiers. No skiers were near the slide activity. The slide was approximately 2,000 feet long with a 4 foot crown (where the avalanche starts) and traveled across Spur Catwalk and down to the Sundance ski trail. Spur Catwalk provides access to the Bowl side of the ski area from the top of Agassiz chairlift at 11,500 feet elevation. The Agassiz lift serves only black diamond expert ski terrain, and remains open, with access to trails Ridge and Upper Volcano.
The Upper Bowl has many historical avalanche slide paths and has been “controlled” by Snowbowl Ski Patrol for decades. The buildup of snow in certain sections of the Bowl are the result of new snow and wind creating pockets of snow that are not stable without specific mitigation measures that our ski patrol implements.
Backcountry & Side Country
Snowbowl Ski Patrol takes this very seriously and cautions skiers and snowboarders of the dangers of skiing the backcountry and side country adjacent to the ski area. Snowbowl works with the Coconino National Forest and Coconino County Sheriff’s Office to alert skiers of hazards that exist when someone skis a closed area within the ski area or decides to exit the ski area boundary. Any out-of-bounds skiers should have the proper gear, and expertise and knowledge regarding the potential for avalanches, as well as a required Backcountry Permit issued by the Coconino National Forest. At the request of CCSAR and USFS, Arizona Snowbowl temporarily closed access to the Kachina Peaks Wilderness from the Agassiz Chairlift Monday evening and all day Tue. Access was restored Wednesday mid-day and immediately resulted in three separate search and rescue missions. Many inexperienced skiers are venturing out of bounds without permits, proper equipment, and the ability to save themselves. Skiers that venture beyond the ski area boundary ski totally at their own risk. A SAR mission Monday took over six hours to extract a teenage skier with a broken leg. For more information on backcountry conditions, visit the Kachina Peaks Avalanche Center's website.
Enjoy all the fresh powder, but please be safe.